Job Corps
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Center Spotlight

Pittsburgh Job Corps Center

Providing graduates with green-collar experience

Pittsburgh Job Corps Center is moving full steam ahead on a number of green initiatives made possible by ARRA funding, with an emphasis on involving as many of its training areas as possible.

Students at the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center are hard at work on a fully functional greenhouse that will involve almost every training area on center. The greenhouse will be disassembled at its current location, the local Veterans Health Administration facility, and then transported and reassembled on center. Students in the facilities maintenance, manufacturing technology, and heavy equipment operations career training areas will take part in this process.

The new 1,200-square-foot greenhouse will have space allotted for culinary arts students to grow vegetables and certified nursing assistant program students to grow homeopathic herbs. The greenhouse will also allow students to grow plants for the center's partnership with the City of Pittsburgh's Urban Farm project, which develops gardens at different locations throughout the city.

The center will save energy by installing LED light bulbs in the greenhouse, and its temperature will be controlled with energy provided by solar panels, which will also be installed by students.

"At the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center, we are committed to becoming a leader in green technology and preparing our graduates for 'green-collar' careers," said Mark Lawecki, career technical skills training and green projects coordinator. "Our goal is to involve every instructor, teacher, counselor and student in creating a green center culture."

More than $250 million in ARRA funding has helped to implement green center initiatives and construction projects on campuses across the country. Other green projects that the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center will be using ARRA funds to complete include:

  • Composting: The Pittsburgh Job Corps Center will begin composting office, center and greenhouse waste this spring. Students in the advanced manufacturing training area will build the motor and the barrel for the composting project. Energy for the motor will come from solar panels, and office administration students will be able to analyze the composting project as if it were a small business to calculate the cost of beginning the project and determining the center’s return on investment.
  • Water Reclamation: The center will collect rainwater from the roof of the gymnasium to water plants in the greenhouse.
  • Cooking Oil Conversion: The center now has the capacity to convert used cooking oil from the cafeteria to biodiesel fuel by a process known as transesterification. This biodiesel fuel will be used in machinery for the ground maintenance and heavy equipment crews.
  • Solar Panels: Students in the electrical and heavy equipment operations training areas will assist in the installation of solar panels that will provide electricity to heat and cool the greenhouse on center. These panels will also provide the energy that will power the motor for composting.
  • Wind Turbine: The center will boast a 2.4-kilowatt wind turbine that is slated to be functional by April. The heavy equipment operations students will also assist in the installation of the wind turbine.

While many career training areas will be involved with the installation of the new green projects on center, the computer networking/Cisco students will be able to monitor the amount of energy used on center and the amount of power generated by this new technology. They will be able to analyze how much energy the center uses with these new improvements and the ways in which they contribute to the center’s overall energy usage over time.